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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation news - Casinos, Farms and Mining misdemeanours

I’m reminded of an episode (or is it episodes) of South Park about Native American tribes and casinos. In this news item on mediation we are in Tulsa Oklahoma and at stake is the automatic renewal of the compact” – the agreement which governs the operation of the casinos which are run by Native American groups.

Governor Kevin Stitt is claiming that the terms do not automatically renew, and wants a bigger “piece of the action”

The other parties are prepared to up their payments but want to see admissions first that they are right that the compact automatically renewed.

Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti has ordered the parties to mediation to prevent further wastage of public and private funds going through the courts, they have until the end of March to show that substantial progress has been made. If they want to nominate Northwest Mediation we’ll be happy to assist (provided our fee includes travel).

Meanwhile in Kansas changes are afoot with the Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services where after 32 years of invaluable service staff attorney Forrest Buhler is retiring. When you consider the mediation service was established in the 1980’s to help farmers through the then farming crisis it shows remarkable foresight by congress (who fund this and similar services).

In the intervening years thousands have been helped by the service which is still going strong in the 21st century helping farmers avoid bankruptcy by mediating between farm owners and lenders.

Forrest said of the service “Our program began as the Farmers Assistance Counselling and Training Service (FACTS) in 1985…It was intended to serve farmers who were experiencing difficulties during the 1980s farm crisis. FACTS provided financial, legal, employment training, and family needs for producers, lenders and rural communities needing assistance.”

Erin Strathe who will step into Forrest’s shoes said “Forrest and the KAMS team, and the groups we partner with, have built a really great program. I’m excited to be joining the team…I’m passionate about helping people, especially Kansas farmers and producers. I’m excited to continue the program’s legacy of helping people in times of need and whenever our services may benefit them.”

Staying with a farming theme but moving to New Zealand a new mediation service is being set up by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The Farm Debt Mediation Scheme will help farmers in South Canterbury financial difficulties by working with them and their banks to find mutually agreeable solutions and negating the impact that the imbalance of power has on negotiations.

Jason Grant the president of Federated Farmers - South Canterbury said "There are only advantages in my view. Under financial pressure it can be difficult for some people to make the right decisions...Having a mediator to help make these important calls is a good thing."

He’s right.

Karen Adair director-general of Agriculture and Investment Services said "Having a neutral mediator to help farmers under financial stress negotiate through tough financial decisions with their lender...This will reduce the stress for farmers in this position and help get practical solutions that will benefit both parties."

She’s also right and she added "We've already heard from leading mediation organisations [not Northwest Mediation sadly] that are interested in participating. If an organisation is approved, they will then make sure their mediators are trained for the new scheme...It will ensure a fair mediation process takes place with an independent, neutral mediator and all the key people around the table...This provides the best chance that everyone involved can reach agreement on a good way forward. This may be a way to turn things around or, in some cases, to wind down the business.”

Staying down under there’s been a successful outcome following the mediation between Venus Metals Corporation Limited and Spectrum MD Paul Adams, David Bosio and DJ Carmichael Pty Ltd for the damages claim issued following the acquisition of the Penny West Gold Project.

Venus alleged misuse of confidential information and breach of fiduciary duty against the former technical advisor and director of DJ Carmichael, when Venus failed to secure the Project but Spectrum did Spectrum’s shares rocketed in value.

The agreement reached means the case is dismissed with “only” a payment to Venus of $150,000 for costs without admission.

In related litigation Venus had agreed to pay Zebra Minerals Pty Ltd $850,000 arising out of the same acquisition.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through. Unlike the first story there is no gambling involved you keep control.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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